Review: Kickapoo Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido Cooperative (Viroqua, Wisconsin)

Kickapoo Coffee is another award-winning roaster featured in my most recent shipment from Craft Coffee. Like many roasters, their standard size is 12 oz, but instead of using bags, Kickapoo ships in cans. I did not receive a can since I got the sampler bag from Craft, but it looks like it would be a nice reusable vessel.


In a way, I think it’s good I didn’t get a can, because my mind immediately drifted to this can in my fridge. I know they don’t really look alike, but I couldn’t stop thinking about hummus when I saw the Kickapoo can.


Sorry for drifting off topic! Back to coffee…

This particular Ethiopian bean is an heirloom variety, and the beans are smaller than typically seen. In addition, I think that the beans are possibly denser, because my usual grind settings are much too fine for these beans in a pourover setup – I only had 4 oz of beans to play with and I didn’t quite dial in the setting properly for either the V60 or Chemex methods, so I don’t think I achieved the full flavor potential of these beans.

Whole bean: A little nutty, with a bright berry scent – strawberry?

V60: I needed a slightly coarser grind because my (already coarser than usual) setting led to a 3:40 extraction time. The result was slightly bitter, but also had a buttery, juicy flavor with honey notes. The aroma was slightly like burnt toast or matches. Wish I could have tried again.

AeroPress: The concentrate was much too tangy and bright (and thick!) to drink straight. After I added some water, the dominant flavor was of strawberry-rhubarb pie. This particular cup seemed to flatten out in flavor as it cooled and the interesting flavors sort of faded so that it resulted in just a “nice” cup of coffee without much discernible personality.

Chemex: I guessed wrong here too on the grind, and I only got 530 grams of water in at the 4:00 minute mark (instead of my usual 700 grams of water), so I halted the brewing at that point rather than letting the coffee get overextracted. This cup was a bit sour, but there was a marshmallow scent and flavor to this cup along with bright strawberry.

French press: Best of the lot, with a great balance of butter, berry, and toast. I would definitely drink this again.

After I finished this tasting and sat down to start this review, I found that this particular varietal scored a whopping 94 points on Coffee Review in 2013. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know that in advance, but now I’m extra mad that I didn’t get the grind settings right! I find it interesting that Craft Coffee’s tasting notes didn’t really match up with Kickapoo’s, but we all taste different things! Craft says: “Nutty cashew flavor complements the subtle acidity of dried apricot and rhubarb,” while Kickapoo talks about flowers, cherry, and lemon. I got toast, butter, and strawberry. Are we drinking the same coffee?

Summary: I liked this best in the french press, but I would need another go at brewing this to see what the full potential is like in the pourover methods. You may need to coarsen up your grind a bit when brewing African heirloom varietals as pourover coffees.

From the roaster: Classic aromatics of spring flowers and tart cherry give way to a round, honeyed body and a clean, sparkling finish. Notes of spring flowers, red cherry, and lemon zest.

Kickapoo Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido

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